What's the used Seat Ibiza hatchback like?
If you’ve entertained the vague notion that the Seat Ibiza shares a family resemblance with the Volkswagen Polo, you’d be right. Spanish brand Seat has long played the role of understudy in the Volkswagen Group empire, putting in just as much work as its more prestigious Volkswagen and Audi partners, but rarely getting its time in the spotlight.
As a result, cars such as the Ibiza, which to all intents and purposes is a Polo under the skin, have represented good options for the cost-conscious motorist.
This fourth generation of Seat’s small car was launched in 2008 and carried on for nine years with only a couple of mild facelifts, with the first coming in 2012 and the second in 2015.
You’ll find three-door (SC) and five-door hatchback versions for sale as well as an estate (ST), all with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines. The ST was something of a niche choice, but sales between three- and five-door Ibizas were evenly split. Unsurprisingly it is the latter which makes for the more practical proposition, not only due to its extra doors, but also because the boot is larger; it just eclipses the Ford Fiesta for load volume.
Space in the rear is not quite up to Fiesta standards, however, with legroom in particular being tight for taller passengers. Up front is much better, and if the Ibiza’s dash is rather plain there was at least the option of selecting contrasting colours for selected pieces of trim to liven things up. Reach and height adjustment for the steering wheel, plus height adjustment for the driver’s seat on most versions of the Ibiza mean it’s easy to find a good driving position.
The engines all made their way over from the Polo, and include everything from a 1.0-litre petrol to a 1.4-litre ‘twincharger’ supercharged and turbocharged unit, plus diesels in 1.2-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre capacities. VW's DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox was offered alongside cheaper manual versions.
Throw in a wide range of trim levels and there’s bound to be an Ibiza to suit most needs and tastes, and while it was never quite as grown-up to drive as its Polo stablemate, or as much fun as the Fiesta, the Ibiza did find a respectable middle ground between the two.
More important for the used buyer, perhaps, is that the Ibiza has always been keenly priced compared with the Polo – and to some extent, the Fiesta – and offers a bold exterior design and a more dynamic image than rivals from Japan and Korea.